BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Joe Thomas may have played his final snap for the Cleveland Browns, and in the NFL.
It’s a sobering reality considering that over 11 seasons Thomas has been the model of consistency and a lone beacon of hope for a franchise mired annually in turmoil, turnover and losing.
As to whether or not he’ll ever suit up again, that remains to be seen.
“Well, my plan is to rehab,” Thomas said Monday via a conference call with reporters. “If you’re asking, ‘Am I done playing?’ I don’t know. I think that’s a decision that is best to be talked about in the offseason.”
Thomas will have surgery – likely on Tuesday – to repair a ruptured triceps tendon in his left arm after suffering the injury late in the third quarter of Sunday’s 12-9 overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans. It’s expected that Thomas will need 6-9 months of rehab following surgery to even get back on the field which is why he doesn’t even want to think about whether or not he’ll return in 2018.
“Right now is obviously too soon after the injury and before the surgery,” Thomas said. “You have no idea how any of the rehab or the surgery is going to go. For me, talking about the last few years of my career, that decision about ‘Do I continue to play or do I retire’ I think is something that I’ve always left up to the offseason because I think it does take some time to get away from football and have reflection and discussions with family and just figure out what the next step would be of my career and if it’s the right time to continue or if it’s the right time to hang it up.”
Early in his career Thomas was quiet and reserved but in recent years he has allowed his personality to show in regular conversations with reporters or the ‘Joe Thomas Hour’ video shorts published on the team website as well as his Twitter feed. There was no one more approachable in the Browns locker room than Thomas. His happy-go-lucky sense of humor was appreciated by everyone he crossed paths with.
Thomas, who turns 33 in December, saw his consecutive snaps streak end at 10,363, his consecutive games streak end at 167 and his Pro Bowl streak end at 10 straight.
The loss of Thomas can not be overstated enough – both on as well as off the field. Simply put: Joe Thomas is everything Cleveland Browns football should be.
“Right now, it’s too early to make any decisions,” Thomas said. “Obviously, you go through a range of emotions after an injury like that, and like I said, I think it’s the most fair to myself and my teammates to just wait until after the season to really kind of sit down with my family and kind of discuss what the future looks like.”
Thomas has blocked for 20 different starting quarterbacks while playing under 6 different head coaches and a multitude of offensive coordinators and position coaches while the Browns floundered on the field winning 48 and losing 119 games.
He has 1 more year left on his contract but with the Browns 0-7 and head coach Hue Jackson just 1-22 it feels as if another round of changes could be in the offing but Thomas praised Jackson Monday.
“I love Hue, I love playing for him and I respected him from afar,” Thomas said. “I would definitely love to continue playing for him.”
If the season continues to go south and Jackson doesn’t return, it sure sounds like Thomas may just call it quits and who could blame him? He wants so bad to see the Browns win on Sunday’s but the dysfunction, incompetence and ineptitude has never allowed that to materialize.
Thomas has already given the Browns and their fans everything he had.